Special Issue "Advances in Fostering Attachment Security"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 August 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Madoka Kumashiro
Website
Guest Editor
Psychology Department, Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, UK
Dr. Ximena Arriaga
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, 703 Third Street, Room 2150, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2081, USA

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Attachment security has been associated with a myriad of positive intrapersonal and interpersonal outcomes, including high-quality relationships, high levels of self-esteem, efficacy, autonomy, subjective and physical well-being, and better work outcomes. Originally rooted in parent-child bonding processes and early attachment patterns, adult attachment-secure orientation develops when adults have experiences that shape specific beliefs—namely that others are trustworthy and that they are worthy of receiving and providing caregiving. In contrast, others have more negative experiences that develop into anxious tendencies whereby individuals become preoccupied in their relationships, and/or avoidant tendencies whereby individuals avoid intimacy to lessen the highly aversive impact of rejection. Research on adult attachment processes tends to treat such differences as stable, chronic dispositions that are difficult to change and that dictate personal and interpersonal outcomes throughout the lifespan. However, recent research suggests ways of mitigating insecurity, and even enhancing security, as new experiences cause attachment orientation to change over time with different people. Given the numerous advantages of being interpersonally secure, there is widespread interest in unearthing mechanisms and developing strategies that strengthen attachment security.

This Special Issue seeks papers that advance insights into how attachment security can be enhanced in adults, in both clinical and non-clinical settings. We welcome papers that examine naturally occurring processes or utilize experimental approaches, as well as high-quality theoretical or systematic reviews that offer insights into how attachment insecurity can be mitigated or how security can be fostered. We hope that this Special Issue will facilitate a diverse range of research into how individuals can become more interpersonally secure, which, in turn, are expected to contribute to higher quality relationships and increased well-being.

Dr. Madoka Kumashiro
Dr. Ximena B. Arriaga
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Attachment security
  • Attachment styles
  • Close relationships
  • Pair bonding
  • Well-being
  • Resilience
  • Adult development

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Fostering Attachment Security: The Role of Interdependent Situations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7648; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207648 - 20 Oct 2020
Abstract
This work adopts an Interdependence Theory framework to investigate how the features of interdependent situations that couples face in their daily life (i.e., situations in which partners influence each other’s outcomes) shape attachment security toward their current partners. An experience sampling study examined [...] Read more.
This work adopts an Interdependence Theory framework to investigate how the features of interdependent situations that couples face in their daily life (i.e., situations in which partners influence each other’s outcomes) shape attachment security toward their current partners. An experience sampling study examined attachment tendencies and features of interdependent situations that people experience with their partner in daily life to predict satisfaction and trust in their relationship, and changes in attachment avoidance and anxiety toward their partner over time. Results revealed that encountering situations with corresponding outcomes (i.e., situations in which both partners have the same preferences) and with information certainty (i.e., situations in which there is clear knowledge of each partner’s preferences) assuage people’s insecurity. On the contrary, situations of mutual current and future interdependence (i.e., situations in which each person’s current or future outcomes are dependent on their partner’s behavior) undermined security for anxiously attached individuals. Power (i.e., the asymmetry in partners’ dependence) was not related to attachment security. This work underscores the importance of studying the role of the situations that partners experience in their daily life and the way they are related to relationship feelings and cognitions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fostering Attachment Security)
Open AccessArticle
A Dyadic Perspective of Felt Security: Does Partners’ Security Buffer the Effects of Actors’ Insecurity on Daily Commitment?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7411; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207411 - 12 Oct 2020
Abstract
Interdependence and attachment models have identified felt security as a critical foundation for commitment by orientating individuals towards relationship-promotion rather than self-protection. However, partners’ security also signals the relative safety to commit to relationships. The current investigation adopted a dyadic perspective to examine [...] Read more.
Interdependence and attachment models have identified felt security as a critical foundation for commitment by orientating individuals towards relationship-promotion rather than self-protection. However, partners’ security also signals the relative safety to commit to relationships. The current investigation adopted a dyadic perspective to examine whether partners’ security acts as a strong link by buffering the negative effects of actors’ insecurity on daily commitment. Across two daily diary studies (Study 1, N = 78 dyads and Study 2, N = 73 dyads), actors’ X partners’ daily felt security interactions revealed a strong-link pattern: lower actors’ felt security on a given day predicted lower daily commitment, but these reductions were mitigated when partners reported higher levels of felt security that day. Actors’ X partners’ trait insecurity (attachment anxiety) interaction also showed this strong-link pattern in Study 1 but not Study 2. The results suggest that partners’ felt security can help individuals experiencing insecurity overcome their self-protective impulses and feel safe enough to commit to their relationship on a daily basis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fostering Attachment Security)
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Open AccessArticle
Partners’ Relationship Mindfulness Promotes Better Daily Relationship Behaviours for Insecurely Attached Individuals
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7267; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197267 - 05 Oct 2020
Abstract
Attachment anxiety and avoidance are generally associated with detrimental relationship processes, including more negative and fewer positive relationship behaviours. However, recent theoretical and empirical evidence has shown that positive factors can buffer insecure attachment. We hypothesised that relationship mindfulness (RM)—open or receptive attention [...] Read more.
Attachment anxiety and avoidance are generally associated with detrimental relationship processes, including more negative and fewer positive relationship behaviours. However, recent theoretical and empirical evidence has shown that positive factors can buffer insecure attachment. We hypothesised that relationship mindfulness (RM)—open or receptive attention to and awareness of what is taking place internally and externally in a current relationship—may promote better day-to-day behaviour for both anxious and avoidant individuals, as mindfulness improves awareness of automatic responses, emotion regulation, and empathy. In a dyadic daily experience study, we found that, while an individual’s own daily RM did not buffer the effects of their own insecure attachment on same-day relationship behaviours, their partner’s daily RM did, particularly for attachment avoidance. Our findings for next-day relationship behaviours, on the other hand, showed that lower (vs. higher) prior-day RM was associated with higher positive partner behaviours on the following day for avoidant individuals and those with anxious partners, showing this may be an attempt to “make up” for the previous day. These findings support the Attachment Security Enhancement Model and have implications for examining different forms of mindfulness over time and for mindfulness training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fostering Attachment Security)
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Open AccessArticle
Mind the Gap: Perceived Partner Responsiveness as a Bridge between General and Partner-Specific Attachment Security
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7178; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197178 - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
A core idea of attachment theory is that security develops when attachment figures are responsive to a person’s connection needs. Individuals may be more or less secure in different relationships. We hypothesized that individuals who perceive a current relationship partner as being responsive [...] Read more.
A core idea of attachment theory is that security develops when attachment figures are responsive to a person’s connection needs. Individuals may be more or less secure in different relationships. We hypothesized that individuals who perceive a current relationship partner as being responsive to their needs will feel more secure in that specific relationship, and that the benefits of perceived partner responsiveness would be more pronounced for individuals who generally feel insecure. The current study included 472 individuals (236 couples) in romantic relationships. Consistent with our predictions, individuals who perceived more responsiveness from their partner displayed lower partner-specific attachment anxiety and partner-specific avoidance, especially when they were generally insecure. These findings are discussed in terms of the conditions that promote secure attachment bonds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fostering Attachment Security)
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Open AccessArticle
Being in the Moment So You Can Keep Moving Forward: Mindfulness and Rumination Mediate the Relationship between Attachment Orientations and Negative Conflict Styles
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6472; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186472 - 05 Sep 2020
Abstract
Attachment insecurity has been associated with negative behaviors during conflict and decreased relationship satisfaction. We theorize that individuals high in attachment anxiety and/or avoidance are less mindful during conflict with their romantic partners, and thus more likely to ruminate. Decreased mindfulness and higher [...] Read more.
Attachment insecurity has been associated with negative behaviors during conflict and decreased relationship satisfaction. We theorize that individuals high in attachment anxiety and/or avoidance are less mindful during conflict with their romantic partners, and thus more likely to ruminate. Decreased mindfulness and higher levels of rumination may be important mechanisms in the relationship between attachment insecurity and conflict behavior, as it may be more difficult to engage in constructive problem-solving skills when one is distracted from the present moment. We conducted an online survey assessing 360 participants’ attachment orientations, levels of mindfulness and rumination, behavior during conflict, and experience with mindfulness activities. Using a serial mediation model, we found that mindfulness and rumination mediated the relationship between attachment insecurity and negative conflict behaviors. We further discovered that individuals high in attachment insecurity were more likely to report negative experiences with mindfulness activities (i.e., meditation and yoga), and that this relationship was mediated by higher levels of experiential avoidance, or a fear of engaging with one’s own thoughts and feelings. We discuss the importance of increasing mindfulness and decreasing both rumination and experiential avoidance to assist individuals high in attachment insecurity in navigating relationship conflict using more constructive and relationship-promoting strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fostering Attachment Security)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Enhancing the “Broaden and Build” Cycle of Attachment Security in Adulthood: From the Laboratory to Relational Contexts and Societal Systems
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 2054; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17062054 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Attachment theory emphasizes both the importance of the availability of caring, supportive relationship partners, beginning in infancy, for developing a sense of safety and security, and the beneficial effects of this sense of security on psychosocial functioning and physical and mental health. In [...] Read more.
Attachment theory emphasizes both the importance of the availability of caring, supportive relationship partners, beginning in infancy, for developing a sense of safety and security, and the beneficial effects of this sense of security on psychosocial functioning and physical and mental health. In this article, we briefly review basic concepts of attachment theory, focusing on the core construct of attachment security and present evidence concerning the ways in which this sense can be enhanced in adulthood. Specifically, we review findings from laboratory experiments that have momentarily enhanced the sense of attachment security and examined its effects on emotion regulation, psychological functioning, and prosocial behavior. We then review empirical findings and ideas concerning security enhancement by actual relationship partners, non-human symbolic figures, and societal systems in a wide variety of life domains, such as marital relationships, psychotherapy, education, health and medicine, leadership and management, group interactions, religion, law, and government. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fostering Attachment Security)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Theoretical Boundary Conditions of Partner Buffering in Romantic Relationships
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6880; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186880 - 21 Sep 2020
Abstract
Attachment insecurity is consequential for both personal and relationship wellbeing. Some research has documented that partner buffering can downregulate insecure individuals’ immediate feelings of distress, allowing them to feel more secure at least temporarily. The benefits of partner buffering, however, may be limited [...] Read more.
Attachment insecurity is consequential for both personal and relationship wellbeing. Some research has documented that partner buffering can downregulate insecure individuals’ immediate feelings of distress, allowing them to feel more secure at least temporarily. The benefits of partner buffering, however, may be limited by several contextual factors. In this article, we identify boundary conditions that may curb or amplify the benefits of partner buffering for both targets (those who receive buffering) and agents (those who enact buffering). We suggest that motivation, ability, and timing may all affect partner buffering outcomes for targets and agents. If partner buffering is delivered in an adaptive way that does not reinforce the target’s insecure tendencies, it may help insecure targets learn that they can trust and depend on their partners (agents), which may facilitate greater security in targets. We recommend that future research consider these contextual factors and examine partner buffering as an inherently dyadic relationship process capable of enhancing attachment security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fostering Attachment Security)
Open AccessReview
The Effectiveness of Attachment Security Priming in Improving Positive Affect and Reducing Negative Affect: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 968; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030968 - 04 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Attachment security priming has been extensively used in relationship research to explore the contents of mental models of attachment and examine the benefits derived from enhancing security. This systematic review explores the effectiveness of attachment security priming in improving positive affect and reducing [...] Read more.
Attachment security priming has been extensively used in relationship research to explore the contents of mental models of attachment and examine the benefits derived from enhancing security. This systematic review explores the effectiveness of attachment security priming in improving positive affect and reducing negative affect in adults and children. The review searched four electronic databases for peer-reviewed journal articles. Thirty empirical studies met our inclusion criteria, including 28 adult and 2 child and adolescent samples. The findings show that attachment security priming improved positive affect and reduced negative affect relative to control primes. Supraliminal and subliminal primes were equally effective in enhancing security in one-shot prime studies (we only reviewed repeated priming studies using supraliminal primes so could not compare prime types in these). Global attachment style moderated the primed style in approximately half of the studies. Importantly, repeated priming studies showed a cumulative positive effect of security priming over time. We conclude that repeated priming study designs may be the most effective. More research is needed that explores the use of attachment security priming as a possible intervention to improve emotional wellbeing, in particular for adolescents and children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fostering Attachment Security)
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